One day last week Jennifer and I finished participating in a church activity. It was very rewarding. We felt connected with the people that attended the church event, saw growth in our church's ministry, and enjoyed our time with our congregation's people. We got in the car, looked at each other, and Jennifer said, "Kinda makes you want to stay here, doesn't it?" I got mad at her. She is not supposed to say things like that. Especially when it strikes a chord in our hearts.
A few days later, things were a little different. A church bully was making things difficult. Some programs were poorly attended. A staff member talked about submitting their resignation. Other people were acting up and sharing their drama with everyone around them. I wondered if I had ever gotten anywhere here, or ever had the potential to do so. I thought, am I going to be able to make it here for another two months?
Everything is magnified as you leave a church. All of your successes and bonds are there for you to see. All of things that bothered you in your tenure seem to be amplified. Much like what I believe happens at the end of life happens in the church. You work though all of the issues of your tenure in the last bit of time you are there, slowly having to confront unresolved anger, and to savor hard fought for friendships and victories as well.